From years of German rule, Moorish invasions, and Roman domination, Spain has evolved into one of the most culturally diverse countries in Europe. Spain is a pastiche of historic splendor, modern museums, ancient artifacts, electrifying folk music, arts and crafts and smoldering flamenco dancing. The food, countryside, scenic shorelines, and well-known tourist haunts all promise to have something for everyone.
1. The Prado Museum
With nearly 22,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings, The Prado Museum is the jewel in the cultural crown of Spain. It showcases the masterworks of some of the most famous artists in the world including Goya, Raphael, Rubens, Bosch, and Velazquez. Historical accounts reveal that the Spanish royal family wanted an art collection and a facility that would rival the Louvre in Paris. Arrange your itinerary so that you can spend many hours delighting in this monumental collection And while you’re budgeting your time, budget your money so that you can take advantage of the wide array of elegant items like Spanish silver rings and pendants in their gift shop. You’ll be able to use your Madrid Card here as well.
2. The Palacio Real
One of the most mesmerizingly beautiful attractions in Spain is the Palacio Real. The walls of this palatial castle echo Spain’s rich history, housing paintings, artifacts, furniture, and tapestries of great historic and artistic merit. A cost-saving investment for venues throughout Spain is the Madrid Card, by which visitors to the area can enjoy free entrance to more than 50 museums throughout the area. Go online for more details.
3. The Botin
Harking back to 1725, The Botin is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest restaurant in the world. With Mediterranean specialties like cochinillo asado (roasted suckling pig) and cordero asad (roasted lamb), it is touted as one of the most popular restaurants in Spain. Budget-conscious travelers can do what the Spanish do–consume a small breakfast and larger lunch. Lunchtime fare is less expensive than dinner in Spain, and tourists can save money by making lunch their main meal of the day. You may also receive a complimentary bottle of their house wine when you present your Madrid Card.
4. El Corral de la Moreria
The rhythms of flamenco dancing ripple through the walls of El Corral de la Moreria. Some of Spain’s premier flamenco dancers perform at this venue, dazzling and delighting tourists with their artistry. Their hour-long shows are a feast for the pallet and the soul.
5. Paseo de Gracia
Spain is also a favorite go-to place for some of the best jewelry and clothing shopping bargains in Europe. From the best quality promise rings and necklaces retailers to top-of-the-line clothiers; from Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik to Gucci– you’ll find it all at Paseo de Gracia. Portal de L’Angel offers economical brands for those looking for more affordable items. Between shopping sprees you can recharge yourself at some of the finest restaurants and bars in the region.
Spain is a once in a lifetime adventure into the antiquity and cultural diversity of Europe. Plan your itinerary carefully so that you can enjoy treasure hunting for all of the best jewelry shopping bargains, tastiest dining delights, and artistic marvels this amazing country has to offer.
Writer LaGeris Underwood Bell presents the sights and delights of Spain to adventurous travelers everywhere. Equally adventurous is a bargain-hunting visit at http://www.superjeweler.com/, where promise rings and other exquisite jewelry await the savvy shopper.